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Sometimes we fear or sense it and pop some gum or mints.

Other times, we’re the last to know that we have it, but other people can detect it the minute you open your mouth.

It’s embarrassing, humiliating, frustrating, off-putting.

Bad breath, or halitosis, affects an estimated 60 million people in the United States. It’s often caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth that causes inflammation. What follows is noxious odors or gases that smell quite… unpleasant (and that’s putting it mildly).

The most likely offenders? Foods, like garlic and onions, tobacco products, poor dental hygiene, dry mouth, infections in your mouth, other mouth, nose and throat conditions like post nasal drip, certain medications and health conditions like diabetes or acid reflux. Even something as innocent as a trip to Starbucks can bring it on, since coffee is often a culprit in the bad breath department.

Though it’s not exactly a medical emergency, if you have bad breath you want to fix it – and fix it fast. Aside from the usual store-bought toothpastes, dental flosses and mouth rinses, there are natural ways to fight it.

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So go ahead, grab your cup of coffee, sit back, and read (but make sure to rinse your mouth and use these other tips when you’re finished!). Banish bad breath with these tips:

1. Drink Plenty Of Water

Staying well hydrated can help speed up the elimination of harmful bacteria and debris that gathers between your teeth. And if you’re unable to brush, rinsing with cool water will help loosen particles from your teeth and gums.

2. Scrape Your Tongue Every Morning With A Tongue Scraper

Bacteria, fungi and dead cells that hang out on the tongue can cause odor. To do a complete job, pull the tongue forward with a piece of gauze while holding the tip to reach the back of the tongue.

3. Chew On A Bunch Of Seeds

Cloves, fennel seeds (or aniseeds) have antiseptic properties that help fight bacteria.

4. Munch On Citrus

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The rind of a lemon or orange, which contains citric acid, can stimulate your salivary glands. Saliva helps rid the mouth of bacteria, which can cause bad breath.

5. Chomp On Some Herbs

Basil, parsley, mint or cilantro contain chlorophyll, which helps neutralize odors.

6. DIY Mouthwash

A cup of water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda plus a few drops of peppermint essential oil makes a great mouthwash, which will get you through several rinses.

7. Crunch On This

Raw, crunchy foods like apples, celery and carrots can promote saliva production and help clear out loose particles from your mouth.

8. Chew Sugarless Gum

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To help stimulate saliva flow, chew some about 20 minutes after a meal. Gum that is sweetened with 100% xylitol can also help reduce cavities.

(Editor’s Note: Be very careful about which brand of gum you choose. Many are filled with harmful chemicals. It’s perhaps best to stick to the other 9 tips on this list.)

9. Spice It Up

Cinnamon, which contains the essential oil cinnamic aldehyde, can reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Boil one teaspoon of cinnamon powder in a cup of water, strain the solution and use it twice daily as a mouthwash.

10. Brew Some Tea

Fennel has microbial properties that fight bacteria in your mouth. Steep one or two teaspoons of fennel seeds in a cup of hot water for five to 10 minutes, strain and sip.

This article was republished with permission from fitnessrepublic.com.

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